Local Woman Shares Story of Falling Victim to Jamaican Lottery S - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Local Woman Shares Story of Falling Victim to Jamaican Lottery Scam

Updated:

In a follow up to a story Target 2 brought you earlier this month, a local victim of a Jamaican lottery scheme is speaking out.

The woman told Action 2 News she was given a winning code, and told she won $550,000 and an SUV.
     
Now she's out $800, but she wants to protect others, and warns just how convincing the scammers can be.

"They keep on calling, they keep on telling you all this stuff--what a good person you are--they just have a way of getting underneath you," the victim said. "They just have a way of acting, right to the point that when you refuse they cry. They actually cry and said but this is your day to shine, we want to deliver this, we've got our day set up to deliver your reward, your prize."

She says the phone calls came from Jamaica, current hot spot for lottery con-artists.
     
She was told to get a pre-paid credit card to cover taxes and fees before they'd deliver her prize.

Demands started at $150, and increased with each phone call to $499.

Investigators say the money cards are more difficult to track.

A U.S. Postal Inspector in Milwaukee tells Target 2 they've been investigating Jamaican lottery scams for about four years. A task force called "JOLT", which stands for Jamaican Operations Link to Telemarketing, originated in 2009. It involves U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, Jamaican Law Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspectors.

The task force works to combat Jamaican based telemarketing fraud that preys on U.S. citizens. They are making progress in tracking down scammers

Right now, Wisconsin inspectors have three active investigations underway.  Investigators on the ground in Jamaica are also making progress--they've executed search warrants and made arrests.

The inspector reminds people that the big clue with lottery scams is when you're asked for money upfront. These lottery con-artists have very rehearsed lines and they sometimes use high pressure tactics and can even become threatening in their communications. Criminals can use "voice over internet protocol" (VoIP) to spoof caller ID, making a call appear to come from anywhere in the world, the United States or even from a government agency.

U.S. Postal Inspectors suggest:

  • Place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. It's fast and free. Visit www.donotcall.gov or you can add your number to the Registry by calling 888-382-1222 from the phone you wish to register.
  • Contact the phone company to discuss blocking incoming international calls and restricting outgoing ones. Consider an unlisted telephone number.

If you receive suspected fraud through the mail, or if the mail was used in connection with a crime that began on the internet, telephone or in person, report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service:  https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ or call the U.S. Postal Inspectors hotline at 877-876-2455.

You can file a complaint about phone calls to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en

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